RE+ Las Vegas- Solar Shines Brightest In the US

RE+ Las Vegas- Solar Shines Brightest In the US

At the recently concluded RE+ show in the US, the largest such show for renewable energy, particularly solar in that country, the response was massive. That is understandable, considering the fact that the US is well on its way to having a blockbuster 2023 in terms of new solar capacity additions. 32 GW is set to be added this year, a 52% increase over the 22 GW last year in 2022. We had covered how total capacity is expected to reach 375 GW by 2028, from 153 GW today.

That might explain the choice of the venue, at the world’s glitziest city in the middle of a desert, Las Vegas.  On top of that is the excitement around the Inflation Reduction Act or IRA, which, with its DCR incentives, has kickstarted a rush to make in the US among players.

India, which has increasingly found the US to be a huge market for solar exports, was also well represented at RE+, with industry players indicating a very high attendance from bigwigs here. Be it developers on the prowl for partners or funding, or manufacturers seeking deals or even expansion opportunities in the market, everyone was there to figure out the next big step in the US. India’s own infra unicorn, Zetwerk, that does contract manufacturing, deserves a call out as its subsidiary Unimacts opened a tracker factory in the same week, dedicated to Nextracker.

On the equipment front, the solar boom has meant that firms known for say, portable solar storage like Bluetti have also launched grid friendly storage options at RE+. Existing players like Panasonic leaned on celebrity endorsers like Olympic champion Michael Phelps to stand out with its Evervolt storage batteries.

In both inverters and modules especially, manufacturing announcements and progress on plans already announced were shared. Considering the limited time window of the IRA till 2030, skeptics also wondered about many announced plans which had not seen any action on the ground yet, and their future. While the shift to TOPCon, or tunnel oxide passivated contact technology for modules continues, inverter majors with a domestic manufacturing presence in the US, ranging from Enphase to SolarEdge  to Power Electronics all announced major plant openings or expansion plans at RE+. Power Electronics stood out with a $300 million investment plan to take capacities to 20 GW.

Beyond the usual were interesting firms like Bila Solar,  which has an upcoming 1 GW plant. Bila plans to make glassless, frameless silicon solar panels that will work best for commercial rooftops that don’t have the load bearing capacity traditional solar setups requires. Using layers of EVA, these lightweight panels could certainly take solar to places it hasn’t reached yet.


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